Beware the fake networks and shoulder surfers

Don’t compromise your cyber security for convenient connectivity.

Have you noticed how many public places offer free Wi-Fi to help you stay connected while on the move? How many times have you taken advantage of the complimentary Internet access at your favourite restaurant or shopping mall? It’s tempting to use resources that don’t dent your pocket, but you could pay a high price if you’re not savvy about personal security and the protection of your web-enabled devices… Because open wireless networks and public hotspots are not secure – and cyber crooks are always on the lookout for chances to exploit vulnerabilities. Here are three of their most common tricks…

Trick #1 | Fake Wi-Fi | A network by any other name

Picture this… You’re inside Cuppa Joe’s coffee shop at the airport. You’re waiting for your to-go cappuccino before you head down to departures. You decide to use the free Wi-Fi to check the weather in your destination city. You turn on your phone’s Wi-Fi and see a list of available networks, including Cuppa_Joes, CuppaJoe, CuppaJoePublic, and CuppaJo. How do you know which Wi-Fi is the shop’s legitimate network for customers?

It’s easy for cyber villains to set up a fake Wi-Fi hotspot that mimics the local network in a specific area. And if you’re distracted, tired, or in a hurry, you might not be as alert as you normally are. One simple mistake on your part might be all a hacker needs to access your device.

Trick #2 | Shoulder surfing | Screen surveillance by strangers

Picture this… You’re standing in line at the reception desk of your hotel. You’re connected to the public Wi-Fi in the lobby and you’re typing in your Facebook username and password so you can post a quick update for your family back home. There’s a stranger in line behind you, standing close enough to see your device screen. You’re not really paying attention to their movements, but they’re watching yours like a hawk. And they’ve just seen your login credentials.

What could they do with that information? They could access your Facebook account and see the personal information you’ve listed on your profile. Information like your full name, birthday, email address, phone number, and place of work. Private material like photos of your family or your home. Sensitive details like your location-based check-ins, your friend lists, your comment history, and your group affiliations. This kind of data is a goldmine for identity thieves and fraudsters.

Trick #3 | Malicious infection | Shared connection, shared contagion

Picture this… You’re relaxing by the hotel pool, sharing the free Wi-Fi with dozens of other sunbathers who are also busy on their laptops, tablets, or smartphones. How much do you know about your fellow pool patrons? How much do you know about their cyber security habits, or the health of their devices? Do they have the latest anti-virus software installed on their mobile? Do they use a VPN on their laptop? Do they carry out security updates on their tablets?

When you’re connected to the public Wi-Fi, you’re sharing an open network with strangers. And that’s risky behaviour, because it only takes one compromised device to put all the other connected devices in harm’s way. Malicious infections can spread from machine to machine in seconds, and that’s something the cyber villains count on.

Stop and think before you connect!

Have you heard? October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month – a collaborative global campaign involving governments, educational institutions, agencies, and companies like ours to ensure that people are empowered to be #CyberAware in their daily lives. BUI is proud to be a 2019 NCSAM Champion organisation! Follow along on FacebookLinkedIn, or Twitter for more tips and resources to help you #BeCyberSmart this month and every month!

BUI is an official Microsoft Partner in South Africa, and an award-winning leader in identity and security solutions.

Three Reasons To Avoid Public Wi-Fi

Our commitment to ensuring business continuity – even in the face of disruption – has been recognised by the British Standards Institution.

We’re proud to announce that we have earned ISO 22301 certification after a rigorous independent evaluation by the British Standards Institution last month. The ISO 22301 badge is recognised internationally and sets the standard for Business Continuity Management Systems.

“This certification highlights the strength of our company’s business continuity strategy,” says Gayle Roseveare, our Chief Operating Officer (COO) here at BUI. “It proves to our staff, partners and customers that we’re prepared for any eventuality – and that we’re able to serve and support the people who rely on us, no matter what. Our ISO 22301 badge represents our commitment to effective risk management, organisational resilience, and reliability – even in the face of disruption,” notes Roseveare.

What is ISO 22301?

Developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation, ISO 22301 lays out a framework to help companies like ours create, implement, and maintain a comprehensive business continuity management system (BCMS). The main aim is to ensure that companies are protected against unforeseen business challenges and equipped to respond and recover when such events do occur.

“BUI is a global company with offices in East Africa, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States,” says Roseveare. “On any given day, our teams are provisioning cloud infrastructure, monitoring and securing digital environments, and delivering a wide range of IT services to customers. We operate around the world and around the clock – and we have to be able to do so continuously. Whether there are power outages in South Africa or internet connectivity issues in Europe, we need to ensure we can deliver uninterrupted services to our customers. Our ISO 22301 certificate validates our planning for disruptive incidents and disasters.”

Why is ISO 22301 certification important?

“In an unpredictable business climate, it pays to be prepared,” explains Dhiren Boodhia, our Group Governance and Compliance Manager. “And that goes double for service providers like us. To earn our ISO 22301 certificate, we had to demonstrate that we have a thorough BCMS in place; that the staff in our various offices understand the BCMS and the processes required to sustain it; and that we are focused on maintaining business continuity and sustainability regardless of market uncertainties and challenges. I think the ISO 22301 badge is an important differentiator – especially when customers are looking for a steadfast technology ally that is as dedicated to legal and regulatory compliance as it is to protecting the business resources of the organisations it works with,” he says.

For customers who choose to partner with BUI, there are five key benefits, adds Boodhia.

  1. Consistency. ISO 22301 emphasises the importance of consistency when it comes to best practices and business processes. “We’ve been assessed on our capabilities around risk assessment and impact analysis as well as our strategies for mitigating disruptions. Our teams excelled in every area – and that means our customers can expect the highest standards of service and care from everyone at BUI,” says Boodhia.
  2. Data protection. With the cyber threat landscape evolving so quickly, data privacy and data security are critical considerations for customers. “ISO 22301 includes extensive conditions for data protection and data recovery,” notes Boodhia. “Our ISO 22301 badge, together with the ISO 27001 certification we achieved for our commitment to information security management, should give our customers even greater confidence: we handle all data respectfully and safely.
  3. Faster recovery. “ISO 22301 requires us to have a holistic strategy in place to deal with disruptions and disasters. It also mandates a detailed recovery plan to ensure that downtime is minimised – for our company and for the business organisations we serve,” says Boodhia. “BUI customers can be assured that, in the event of an issue, our teams will follow a step-by-step framework to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.”
  4. Greater compliance. By achieving ISO 22301 certification, BUI has met the global benchmark for business continuity management, adds Boodhia. “Many of our customers operate in highly regulated industries, like financial services and healthcare, and they must adhere to their own standards in terms of the services they provide to their clients. BUI is committed to maintaining essential functions during adverse circumstances – and that’s a big plus for customers who have strict compliance obligations.”
  5. Peace of mind. ISO 22301 calls for certified organisations to update and improve their business continuity processes to ensure that their strategies remain current, relevant, and effective. “We’re obligated to adapt and enhance our BCMS plan as our company grows,” explains Boodhia. “It’s good news for our customers because it means we’re always prepared. Whatever happens, the BUI services and solutions that so many businesses utilise every day will be available.”

Our commitment to your success

ISO 22301 may be our newest certification, but it’s also a testament to our unwavering focus on our customers, notes our COO. “To be a dependable, reliable technology partner, you need to anticipate the challenges you’re going to face and then take the necessary steps to ensure that you can address those challenges as soon as they arise. We’re being proactive today so that we’re ready for tomorrow – and always on hand to help our customers be productive, secure, and resilient,” Roseveare concludes.

Do you have a disaster recovery plan in place?

Our experts can help you craft a comprehensive backup strategy aligned with your business structure, your IT resources, your budget, and your goals.

Contact our team to arrange a discussion today.

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